6 unconventional ways to soothe anxiety

The definition of anxiety according to Cambridge dictionary is: “An uncomfortable feeling of nervousness or worry about something that is happening or might happen in the future”.

All of us experience the unsettling emotion of anxiety at some point. As one who’s had more than my fair share of this type of distress, I can vouch that once you’re held captive by it, you’d do about anything to break free. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to wipe out anxiety, it’s simply part of our human emotional template. However, we can ease the anxiety by first proactively recognising what factors set off the anxiety and which provide inner peace. For now let’s focus on the later, paths that soften the grip anxiety holds.

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A strong advice I’d give is to get creative and not back down from trying out novel ways that potentially might bring a sense of relief (without causing harm). I’m aware anxiety can have a paralyzing effect but it’s the golden opportunity to expand your personal repertoire of ways to settle the emotion. Gradually you’ll have your own custom made protocol for when the anx hits. 

I’ll share my personal “go to” list which puts me at ease in hopes it will spark new ideas of processes to test. I’m pretty sure some wouldnt be found in a typical textbook. Important to note though, what I’ll mention is by no means aimed as a solution for those with chronic severe anxiety, there comes a point where professional help is needed. This is simply when anxiety is either a temporary state or a phase.  Here we go! 

Warmish sesame oil

I got this suggestion from an ayurvedic practitioner whose advice was to heat up sesame oil and massage it into the skin. The temperature of the oil should be comfortably warm when applied on the skin. I found that massaging the oil on my neck, shoulders and arms relaxes the tenseness (both the physical and emotional kind). Alternatively, it’s perfect as a substitute for lotion after a shower. 

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Breath work

Breathing deeply is a classic tip since anxiety causes a triggered nervous system leading to arousal and shallow chest breaths. To calm the body down first thing is to inhaledeep all the way down to the belly button and imagine inflating all four corners of the torso. Hold the breath for 8 seconds then slowly release the air. Repeat 5 times.

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Warm foods and drinks

This one is a must for me. Since I tend to get anxious during the winter months when it’s dark and cold, warm foods (such as soups or stews) and warm drinks ( tea and water) tend to settle down the body and mind.

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Magic pills

This one will seem odd but bare with me. Get a jar of food supplements in pill form (I usually go for vitamin D since it’s a must during the Swedish winter months). Now what would you like this pill to do for you? Make you more happy, easygoing or relaxed? You choose whatever trait or state you like. Next, set the intention by focusing on what this magic pill will do for you before ingesting the pill. This “pretending” makes the request tangible and will hopefully trick the mind. The effect of this process might surprise you!

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Crystals

Crystals are magic I believe. I never travel anywhere without them and back in the day when presentations were a big part of my job (something I found nerve wracking my first year) they’d always stay close to me. When I’m anxious I put a stone in my bra, close to my heart or in my pocket. I imagine the stones pulling out the anxiety and absorbing it. Personally I’m drawn to rose quartz and amethyst but there are many options so check in and feel which ones you’re attracted to.

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Warm laundry

I’ve been saving my best trick for last. Start by dumping dirty laundry in the washing machine and then once clean toss it into a dryer. Once the clean load is dry and freshly warm take the pile and spread the items all over your bed. Now comes the best part, dive in! Perhaps even covering yourself with a blanket. Enjoy the satisfying sensation of the heat of and the lovely smell of cleanliness. Can’t quite put my finger on it but it brings me such an inner comfort. Worst case, if this doesn’t soften your anxiety, you’ve done some washing.

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Lastly, remember to stay far away from cigarettes, coffee, alcohol and white sugar since they enhance anxiety, not the opposite. I wish you an anxious free day!

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